First day at preschool

Some children can feel really anxious when starting preschool and others might not be bothered in the slightest, and in some cases, we parents can be more worried about their first day than our child. To keep emotions in check and to ensure a preschool is an exciting place for your child and a stress-free experience for you, the team at The Wandsworth Preschool has put together some tips and advice to make sure that starting preschool is a success.  

But before we delve into your child’s first day at preschool, it’s good to answer a common question that’s asked: “what age do children start preschool?”

What age do children start preschool?

Most children start preschool between the ages two and three. 

By the age of two or three, most children have grown in curiosity, independence and have developed an interest in getting to know other children of similar ages. And there are a number of benefits that come with starting preschools too. Starting preschool helps to prepare toddlers for primary school, which they start after their fourth birthday by gently introducing routine and a curriculum. They will also develop their social skills and become increasingly self-reliant when separated from their parents.

Visit the preschool with your child

Sending your child to unfamiliar surroundings and people can make for a difficult transition from home to preschool. That’s why, we recommend visiting the preschool with your child so that it doesn’t come as a shock on their first day. Visiting the preschool prior to their start will help them to feel comfortable much more quickly and will help to reduce their stress levels, as they’re more likely to associate the environment with you and understand that it is a safe environment.

When you visit your child’s preschool, you may want to take a picture of the empty classroom so you can both familiarise yourselves with the surroundings. Together, you may wish to draw up similarities between preschool and home to help them feel at ease or maybe even point out some toys that they like the look of.

Pack something from home

Whether it’s your child’s favourite bear or something of yours that smells of you, having something from home with them can provide comfort when everything else around them looks, smells and sounds different. 

Packing something from home when your child starts preschool also helps them to better understand object permanence. This is where children start to understand that objects still exist, even when they’re not in sight.

Get your child used to a routine prior to starting preschool

When visiting the preschool prior to your child’s start, you have the opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and find out more about the routines and activities your child will be involved in. 

Once you have an idea of how their day might look, you could start to mimic their preschool routine at home so that they become familiar with it beforehand. A routine can include going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, bathing and setting out their clothes before bedtime, scheduling in set activities to do in the day and eating breakfast and lunch at set times too. All of these activities will help your child get accustomed to new regimes.

Ask your child how they feel about starting preschool

Talking about starting preschool too far in advance with your child can be anxiety-inducing and can make children feel confused, worrying that tomorrow could be the day they start preschool. So to help them understand when they’ll start you might want to mark the date on the calendar, get them to circle the date with their favourite crayon. Make sure you cross off the days as each one passes, so they have a better idea of it visually. 

To ensure children maintain a healthy relationship with the idea of starting preschool, you should ask them if they have any questions. Listening to your child and talking through their concerns or general thoughts about preschool can help them to feel more prepared for their first day.

Keep goodbyes short

It can be hard for us parents to leave our children but remember that children can pick up nonverbal cues, so be mindful that feeling guilty or worried about leaving them may have a knock-on effect. To keep your child from picking up on these feelings, remind yourself that preschool is an opportunity for them to make friendships, learn and discover more about the world.

With this in mind, when you and your child enter their preschool, be confident and calm. Introduce them to their teacher and take a step back so that the teacher can communicate with your little one.

If your child is reluctant and doesn’t want to let you go, reassure them that you will be back later and say a short, sweet, loving goodbye. Once you’ve said bye, be prompt about leaving as lingering might make them cry or want to leave with you, so be strong when it’s time to go.

Connect with The Wandsworth Preschool

Starting preschool is a big step for your little ones to take but you can trust our dedicated team to provide the best child care and educational care that will support them in their early years. 

We hope that this blog has been useful and you now have the answers to ‘what should a child know before starting school?’ – whether that’s preschool, nursery or big school – most of these first day tips can be applied throughout their entire education.

For more information about The Wandsworth Preschool, please contact our dedicated team directly via telephone on 020 8003 5492 or fill out our enquiry/feedback form and we’ll be with you as soon as possible.